About Following Jesus
Following Jesus is a local church in the Association of Vineyard Churches, South Africa. The team leader, Alexander Venter, has been an ordained pastor with the Association of Vineyard Churches since 1982. He was first ordained to pastoral ministry in 1975 with the Assembly of God.
Following Jesus is not only part of the Vineyard family in South Africa, but also the Vineyard international.
While we uphold the autonomy of the local church, we submit to ‘translocal’ leadership, belonging and accountability.
We embrace the Vineyard Statement of Faith that is internationally endorsed by the Vineyard movement worldwide.
Alexander and his wife Gill Venter
What’s in our name?
Naming is a powerful privilege in scripture. As we see with Adam and Eve and others, choosing and declaring a name is an exercise of great authority as God’s image-bearers. Names give insight into the nature and describe the character of the person – even a prophetic declaration of the person’s destiny. In naming our faith community Following Jesus we consciously exercise this authority in God, believing that it describes our being and becoming.
Following Jesus is an ancient-future name. It’s ‘ancient’ as in identifying with the earliest Christ-community, the first followers of Jesus. And it’s ‘future’ as in being relevant to our postmodern world – the global village of the internet and instant social media – in which everyone ‘follows’ someone, e.g. 35 million people ‘follow’ Lady Gaga on twitter. People not only follow celebrities, leaders, politicians and friends, they also follow name brands, belief systems and ideologies.
We’ve chosen to follow Jesus because he is God in human flesh. No other person, no other ideology or belief system compares with Jesus and his teachings.
The rabbi Yeshua ha Notzri (Jesus the Nazarene) was more than a prophet. He was God’s Messiah – God incarnate – seen in his life and teachings, and vindicated in his death and resurrection. His teachings are simply the wisest and best information available to humanity on reality, on how to live life here and now, and beyond the grave in eternity.
Jesus himself said, “If you receive and hold to my teachings, you will truly be my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). A ‘disciple’ is a follower of a Master or Guru, as in an apprentice, student, disciplined-learner. We are apprenticing our lives on Jesus of Nazareth, learning from him day by day how to live our lives as if he were us. And being ‘free’ is not freedom to do what you want. It’s being so free that you’re able to routinely and regularly do what God wants – free to know God and love him and others, just as he loves you.
This is why we call ourselves Following Jesus. This is who we are and what we want to become.
- Alexander & Gill Venter
- Waynne Pienaar
- Quinton Howitt
- Vaughan Zoutendyk
- Terxia Chegwiddin
- Lerato Moselane
- Nthabiseng Dhladla
- Alexander Venter: (Team Leader)
- Waynne Pienaar: (Administrator/Operations Pastor)
- Sheila Shanks: (Site Manager for Vineyard Community Center)
- Victor Pillay (Administrator)
- Grant Bennetts: (Admin Assistant)